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Sat, 15 Aug 2020
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Australian paper invokes wrath of woke Twitter by quoting Biden's own words in 'racist' cartoon about him and Harris

Biden Harris
© REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
The Australian is under fire for publishing an allegedly racist cartoon that depicts US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden referring to his running mate Kamala Harris as "this little brown girl."

The cartoon by artist Johannes Leak was published in Rupert Murdoch's The Australian newspaper earlier this week, in an apparent attempt to deride the US Democratic party for perceived tokenism and racially motivated pandering, according to the paper's editor-in-chief, Christopher Dore.

The controversial cartoon depicts a smiling Biden announcing that it's time to "heal a nation divided by racism" before beckoning Harris to the podium while he goes "for a lie-down." Needless to say, the backlash was swift and immediate online from the woke sectors of the Twitter commentariat.

Comment: See also:

Mr. Potato

Peak Idiocracy: Wisconsin government agency mandates facemask use for virtual zoom meetings

Despite the deluge of data that continues to come in indicating that the coronavirus may not be the death sentence that the mainstream media has made it out to be, the sharp overreaction from those who can't help but be scared half to death from the virus continues unabated.

The latest example comes to us from the Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, who told its employees that effective August 1, they would have to wear a mask - even for teleconferences.

Preston Cole of the DNR said in an e-mail to employees: "Also, wear your mask, even if you are home, to participate in a virtual meeting that involves being seen — such as on Zoom or another video-conferencing platform — by non-DNR staff. Set the safety example which shows you as a DNR public service employee care about the safety and health of others."

Gov. Tony Evers had put a mask order in place effective August 1 that mandates masks are to be worn whenever a person is in an enclosed space other than a private residence.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

The New Normal: 'Covert Moral Enhancement' for 'Coronavirus Defectors'

pill head
© Daniel Gray
Four days ago the Conversation - an "independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community" - published an article headlined:
'Morality pills' may be the US's best shot at ending the coronavirus pandemic, according to one ethicist
The article's author is Parker Crutchfield, an Associate Professor of Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law at Western Michigan University, and his argument can be broken down into four key points:
  1. Wearing masks and social distancing are good for public health
  2. People who refuse to follow these rules are "defectors" who need to be "morally enhanced"
  3. This moral enhancement can be achieved with medication to make people more "empathetic" and "co-operative"
  4. This medication should be compulsory and/or administered secretly via the water supply.

Comment: Here's the offending article. It's so over-the-top, we even wondered if it's trolling...

Professor of Bioethics: 'Induce compliance from Covid-19 defectors by subjecting them to moral enhancement via water supply'


Complaints to state's corruption watchdog to be kept secret before elections in Queensland, Australia

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath.
© Glenn Hunt
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath.
Corruption complaints made about Queensland politicians and candidates will be kept under wraps in the lead-up to elections as part of new laws introduced to State Parliament, with fines of more than $6000 or up to six months imprisonment.

The revelations follow commentary by Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran at the conclusion of the corruption investigation into a school principal appointment involving former deputy premier Jackie Trad.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath told Parliament the bill came at a "critical time" as Queensland headed to the polls in October, and would prevent media from publicising corruption complaints within the caretaker period.

The LNP has previously pushed to ban the practice of publicising referrals to the corruption watchdog.

The laws will mean media such as print, digital, radio and television will be banned from publicising any corruption complaint during the caretaker period.

Comment: Politically-motivated censorship is alive and well in Queensland, Australia

No Entry

One in three Americans say they won't get coronavirus vaccine, and one in two Russian doctors won't take it either

© Getty images
More than 1 in 3 Americans surveyed in a NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released Friday say they will not get a coronavirus vaccine once it is available.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would not take the vaccine, 60 percent said they would and 5 percent said they were unsure.

Those with college degrees are 19 points more likely to take a vaccine than those without, 72 percent to 53 percent. Democrats were also more likely to be willing to take the vaccine than Republicans, 71 percent to 48 percent.

The poll noted that in 2009 only 51 percent said they would take a vaccine for H1N1, though that disease was less deadly and had a narrower impact on daily life.

Comment: The difference in "deadliness" between H1N1 and Covid-19 are close to negligible.

Comment: And clear across the world one out of every two Russian physicians state that they will not take the new Coronavirus vaccine being rolled out in their country:
Despite official claims that the world's first coronavirus vaccine is completely safe, 52 percent of Russian doctors who responded to an online survey indicated that they're not ready to take Sputnik V.

That has led to a sharp rebuke from the head of the team that developed the solution. Alexander Gintsburg, of the Gamaleya Institute, explained to the TASS news agency that doctors who refuse the vaccination must understand the consequences. According to Gintsburg, if medical professionals reject the vaccine, the only way for them to get antibodies is to "get severely sick, because the mild form does not give long-term protection."

"Catching a severe form of Covid-19 is likely to have consequences for the rest of one's life and, in a certain number of cases, as doctors know, death," Gintsburg added. "Therefore, there's a choice: refuse to be vaccinated and follow this path, or get the vaccine. "

Of the more than three thousand participants in the survey ... only 24.5 percent said they'd agree to vaccination, with many worried at the pace of development and the lack of data proving its efficacy. Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents were wary that the vaccine had been created in such a short time, with only 20 percent saying they'd recommend the vaccination to patients, colleagues, and acquaintances. Of those surveyed, 66 percent said there was insufficient data on its effectiveness.

The survey, which received 3,040 responses, was conducted via a service for the medical profession called 'Doctor's Guide'. The service is a phone app that offers calculators, recommends reference books, and provides medical news and other helpful resources for healthcare professionals. The app is completely free and, according to its creators, is used by more than 400,000 doctors.

On August 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country had registered the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, named Sputnik V. Due to be available to the general public from January 2021, it will first be administered to medical workers and teachers who voluntarily choose to take it. Sputnik V's rapid development has been criticized by some Western countries and medical experts, who believe that production has been rushed and that the vaccine has not yet been proven safe. However, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has called such criticism "groundless."

The vaccine was produced by Moscow's Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which tested its safety and efficacy in conjunction with the country's Ministry of Defense.

Gintsburg also noted that Sputnik V went through all the necessary procedures to prove its effectiveness and safety, and that information about the vaccine will soon be published for all to read.
So Russia has its share of Covid-19 hysteria-believers too (as well as skeptics). But imagine what the Russia-haters would say if the great country to the east followed the lead of Sweden?!


North Carolina: 'Reporting error' fuels 200K COVID testing overcount

Dr. Mandy Cohen
© Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer/AP
Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, answers a question during a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
North Carolina public health officials have announced a major reporting error in the number of coronavirus tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.

North Carolina overcounted its tally of completed coronavirus tests by 200,000 since the start of the pandemic, state officials announced Wednesday, blaming most of the error on a processing lab. The error doesn't affect key measures such as the percentage of positive test results, they said.

Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services, pinned the brunt of the blame on LabCorp Diagnostics for providing North Carolina with two different daily testing count numbers when the clinical lab network submitted the data electronically and manually.

"The positive cases are reported electronically," Cohen said in an interview. "Those continue to be accurate. The number that we are correcting today is just the total cumulative lab tests."

People 2

Coronavirus and new rules: This is what the first day of school in Scotland looked like

Tollbrae Primary School
© Sky News
Scotland's schools are bringing back different year groups each day this week.
At Tollbrae Primary School, parents are not allowed into the playground under new rules to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Nine-year-old Caleb Cowan was looking wistfully through the gates of Tollbrae Primary School in Airdrie. A few minutes earlier, he had watched his younger brother walk through the gates alone, but Caleb has to wait until Thursday to meet his friends, some of whom he hasn't seen for almost five months.

Scotland's schools are bringing back different year groups each day this week - ready for full-time schooling for everyone next Monday.

"I've been enjoying playing Nintendo Wii Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games," Caleb says when asked for the best thing about almost five months of school. He knows he will have to keep socially distanced from teachers and staff in school, but not from his classmates.

"If I run into my best friend I'll give him the biggest hug ever," he said.
Caleb and Terry Cowan
© Sky News
Caleb Cowan - here with dad Terry - is excited to see his friends again.

Comment: Parents talk about school and student social experience returning to normal - is this it?


With 22 deaths in population of 5M, New Zealand races to track origin as new COVID-19 cases jump to 13

McDonald's New Zealand
Customers queue for McDonald's in Wellington, NZ following the coronavirus outbreak.
Police have been helping to implement a three-day lockdown in Auckland since midday Wednesday as teams of health workers raced to find the cluster's origin. A coronavirus cluster in Auckland has risen to 17 cases, New Zealand health officials said Wednesday, raising the prospect of an extended lockdown in the country's biggest city to battle the resurgent virus.

National health chief Ashley Bloomfield said there were 13 new confirmed infections, all linked to four family members found on Tuesday, ending New Zealand's record of 102 days without community transmission of the disease.

Police have been helping to implement a three-day lockdown in Auckland since midday Wednesday as teams of health workers raced to find the cluster's origin and ramped up testing in the city.

Bloomfield said among the new cases was a student at one of New Zealand's largest high schools, attended by more than 3,000 children.

Comment: For the bigger picture of how this small number of cases is playing out in New Zealand, see also:

New Zealand acclaimed 'world leader' in handling Covid-19 as it announces enforced relocation of 'infected' to 'quarantine centers'


Georgia shop blasted for 'racist' promo that waived fee for people of color

© Google Maps
Civvies in Savannah
A vintage clothing store in Georgia is getting backlash online for a promotion blasted as "racist" that waived a $20 fee for non-white shoppers.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Civvies on Broughton in Savannah said it would require a $20 refundable deposit to book an appointment at the boutique, while people of color would be exempt from the new policy.

"As a mostly white staff with white ownership, we do not feel comfortable upholding a digital and financial barrier which could prevent BIPOC from shopping at our store at this time on top of the limitations already made by online booking," the store announced last week.

The shop, which sells new and "recycled" clothing, told potential white customers that they could decline to pay the deposit, but would be contacted by a booking manager to "discuss other options," the post read. "If you are white and refuse to put down a deposit because you believe our policy is unethical you will not be accepted for an appointment," the store's now-deleted post read.

Bad Guys

Facebook post sparks violence in Bengaluru, India - 3 dead

riots bengaluru India facbook post
Police stand next to the charred remains of a vehicle vandalised by a mob over a social media post by a relative of a MLA, in Bengaluru.
The youth who had allegedly posted the content has been arrested by the city police. 60 cops have sustained injuries due to stone and bottle pelting.

Three people were killed in Bengaluru after police opened fire as clashes broke out in parts of the city on Tuesday night after a youth allegedly posted derogatory content inciting hatred on Facebook.

Members of the minority community pelted stones at the residence of Congress MLA Akhanda Shrinivasa Murthy, DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations. The youth, who is said to be associated with the Congress lawmaker, has been arrested.

Among the three dead persons, two have been identified as Wajid Khan (20) and Yaseen Pasha (20). The third person remains unidentified. The bodies are currently kept at the Bowring Hospital morgue as the authorities will conduct Covid-19 tests and post-mortem before handing them over to the family members.